Rainbow Six’s Season Pass is Gross

Posted November 12, 2015 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Video Games

Though the discussions has been around since their inception, this year has seen a spike in controversies surrounding season passes. The first was the announcement of Batman: Arkham Knight’s $39.99 season pass – with not a single detail concerning what would be contained within. As it turns out, that game had much bigger issues (see: disastrous PC port), but it was still a slap in the face for gamers. It was interpreted as Warner Bros taking advantage of the audience’s desire for new content. Essentially, they were saying “Trust us, we’ll produce content you’ll love. But you have to give us $40 first.” This was a mistake, and it sparked a backlash, prompting the publisher to release the contents of the season pass.

In the end, there was a lot of content included in the season pass, from new AR Challenges, to character skins, to new Batmobile tracks, to completely new story content. You can find extensive lists of everything it includes online, but the list is actually too long to include here. Sure, there have been complaints about the quality of the content (I can’t speak to that, as I still haven’t repurchased Arkham Knight), but there was a ton of it. In the end, probably enough to justify paying two-thirds the price of the base game, speaking simply in terms of hours of entertainment provided. This may not be the best determinant of what makes a game, or its DLC, worth buying, but at least it’s something.

Arkham Knight DLC

In addition to cosmetics, Arkham Knight’s season pass offered a variety of content that added on to the game.

This seemed to repeat itself with the announcement of Fallout 4’s $29.99 season pass. While this is nowhere near as egregious as Arkham Knight’s price, it is still half the cost of the game, and there is still no information as to what will be included. The backlash here was much quieter, in large part due to Bethesda’s record of support for their games. Fallout 3 received five pieces of DLC, three of which were incredible (if memory serves, it’s been some time since I’ve played them). Regardless of quality, each of these pieces of DLC was a self contained story that added new layers to the already deep world of Fallout 3. Skyrim boasted less DLC, but Dragonborn and Dawnguard added a significant amount of content to the game, and even Hearthfire added enough new content to justify its price. Most gamers, therefore, felt they could rest assured that the Fallout 4 season pass would provide similar content.

The Pitt

Outstanding DLC like the Pitt has lead to gamers trusting Bethesda when it comes to crafting add on content that they are willing to pay for.

Though there are issues with the way in which Bethesda and Warner Bros announced their respective season passes, I don’t think that there’s a massive issue with what they charge for them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with season passes. In fact, I think they’re a great way to ensure that gamers get access to all the content released for a game they love, at a discounted price. However, while the majority of season passes fall in the realm of acceptability, there are some that are absolutely disgusting.

Take, for instance, Rainbow Six: Siege’s season pass, which is what sparked my desire to write this article. As with Arkham Knight and Fallout 4, publisher Ubisoft neglected to make the details of the season pass available with its announcement. And, frankly, that was probably a smart business decision. Because, for those who haven’t seen it already, the following is the total contents of the season pass:

Seven-day exclusive early access to the eight new operators that players can instantly add to their roster upon release

– Permanent 5% Renown boost to allow players to unlock content quicker

– The exclusive Season Pass Porter weapon skin

– The Safari Bundle of five weapons skins

– Two extra daily Renown-earning challenges

– 600 R6 Credits that can be used to purchase additional in-game content

Are you f**king kidding me? There is no actual “content” in this season pass, unless you count weapon skins, which I don’t, because they have no impact on my actual in game experience. What this does do is make Rainbow Six: Siege ostensibly pay to win. Buying the season pass will automatically put you ahead of other players. You’ll be able to unlock upgrades for your weapons faster than others, which imbalances the game. Of course, you can get Renown in game, but it has to feel bad to be the guy/girl who isn’t getting the Renown boost for no reason other than the fact that (s)he wasn’t paying an additional $30.00. The same is true of the R6 credit bonus.

R6 Collector's Edition

Even the Collector’s Edition is lame, I mean, who wants a damn backpack with their video game?

Oh, also, this is $29.99. That’s half the price of a full video game. You can go buy all five episodes of the incredible Life is Strange for cheaper than that. You can pay that same price for XCom: Enemy Unknown, which is a game you’re likely to sink 20+ hours into. $29.99 is far too much to pay for a season pass that doesn’t include any real content. That is disgusting, especially considering that this game is already starved for content. Eleven maps at launch, with no single player whatsoever, is not the type of game that inspires me to want to pay for non-content. It should be mentioned that all post-launch maps will be free to all players, and seriously, props to Ubisoft for that decision.

That said, I feel like I would be less angry about this season pass if it included those maps, and the maps weren’t free for everyone. At least then the season pass would be justified, even if $90.00 is still steep for the content you get in the game. It’s season passes like this one that give them a bad name. Mostly, this is because these types of season passes are just silly, and truly are a waste of money. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pay $30.00 for what you get with this season pass – even the most die hard Rainbow Six fanboys probably have standards. This type of behavior from Ubisoft is nothing short of abusive. The assumption that gamers will pay for this season pass is, frankly, insulting. 

Better luck next time, Ubisoft.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.